Simien is an eighth generation Creole from one of the earliest Creole families documented to have settled in the Mallet area of St. Landry Parish. He was introduced to music via the piano at home, the Catholic Church choir, and in school band programs where he played trumpet.
While in his teens, he taught himself to play accordion and formed his first band Terrance Simien & The Mallet Playboys, and began to play the regional zydeco club and church hall circuit. In the early 1980s, Simien was a youth in his early 20's and one of only two emerging zydeco artists leading a band and performing their indigenous zydeco roots music. This was a pivotal time in zydeco music history since the pioneers of the genre were aging and the music was in jeopardy of dying off without the critical presence of emerging artists perpetuating the traditions. Upon being asked about his opinion of his debut album in a 1991 interview, Simien said: “I think we’ve done what we set out to do, and that is catch the energy of the live performance. Also give the audience something new that we couldn’t do live. But we basically stayed true to what we were doing; we didn’t try to make a hit song. We just put out what we’ve been doing for the past five years on the road, and it couldn’t have come out any better than it did. There are some disappointments. You always wish you had more time, more money, more everything.
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